The question of whether or not to service car dealers is a difficult one for me. On one hand, dealerships always have vehicles that need some kind of detailing work, and so can keep a reliable detailer busy. This is sometimes critical for detail shops that keep a small staff. You just can’t afford to lose any employees during the slow times – because you’re going to need them come summer or spring. A steady flow of work keeps good folks around for the more lucrative seasons of retail work through the detail shop storefront. The main drawback to working with dealerships? They want to pay less for your service.
Half of detailers won’t service car dealers
I wanted to find out what other detailers thought about working for dealerships, so I asked them through a couple of online forums. “To be or not to be” a dealership detail man is a hot topic for lots of experienced detailers, and lots of them have interesting opinions on the matter. Only one of the twelve detailers polled reported that they worked exclusively with dealerships. On the other end of the spectrum, there were three detailers who reported that they never worked with dealerships, but for different reasons. I asked detailers whether or not they regularly accepted detail work from dealerships. See the results below.
Average price to dealers: $160
Some detailers responded with specific prices they charged for dealership work. The amount charged varied widely – one detailer charged $100 per car and another $180. Perhaps the best way to establish a price point is to find out what dealerships are paying – by asking nearby detail shops, not necessarily the dealerships – and then run the numbers on what would be an economical, similar price for you to charge.